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Refugee attitudes - Italy

A Eurobarometer survey has found that over a third of all #Italians felt that #immigration is the most important issue for the #EU to deal with at the moment.⁣

Numerous Italians stated that they do not perceive many of those who are coming to #Italy to claim #asylum as #refugees but economic #migrants in search of a better life. Like in other European countries, migrants and refugees are often seen as a homogenous out-group. Very few Italians feel that refugees or migrants are similar to them, with a slightly stronger identification with refugees.⁣

Italians identify immigration as among their highest priority of concerns. The prominent media coverage of boat arrivals across the Mediterranean has led to an increased perception of insecurity. Like many other countries, Italians generally tend to have negative impressions of the overall impact of immigration in their country. Only a minority of Italians believe that immigration has had a positive impact on the country. The most widely held negative perceptions associated with immigration in Italy relate to its economic effects, with many believing that the country’s economy will be negatively impacted by immigration.⁣

These attitudes towards refugees are strongly influenced by Italy’s own values and priorities. For example, there is a belief that refugees coming to Italy pose a major threat of terrorism, as well as agreement with the proposition that allowing newcomers to stay will encourage more to come, including those who merely want a better life.⁣

One perception that emerges from the study is the widespread belief that immigration has divided Italy. Many Italians believe that immigration has contributed to social divisions. The lack of jobs and pessimism about persistent unemployment means that economic concerns play a greater role in shaping attitudes towards refugees and migrants in Italy.⁣

Luckily, some Italians report feelings of solidarity and empathy towards refugees and migrants as hospitality is an important part of the Italian national character. Around one-third of the population remains neutral when asked whether migrants and refugees are good, peaceful, or honest.

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